Hattiesburg kids having a nutritious summer

By: Karrie Leggett

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM)- Thames Elementary is offering a summer nutrition program.

Stephanie Hoze, director of child nutrition, believes this program is a great way for kids to keep up healthy eating habits.

"It's just so important that students continue when school is not in session to have the nutritious meals that are provided on a regular basis," said Hoze.

The Summer Nutrition Program serves 200 to 300 students. Fruits and vegetables are served to the kids, but no junk food; however, kids say they love it.

"The kids are served two healthy meals a day, which Hoze says is something some wouldn't have if this program was not available.

"There are some students that, if it had not been for the benefits of this program, would not be able to continue to eat nutritious meals. Now, I am sure there are probably some food items that students could probably receive but the benefits of this program is that the required fruits, vegetables, the portion sizes and controlled food items that are served on the regular school year are continued during the summer months as well," said Hoze.

Olanda McDaniels, Child Nutrition Manager for Thames Elementary, says feeding kids in the program makes her job worth it.

"I work with this because it is so important to feed the children. I enjoy giving them a hot, nutritious meal each and every day. We work with the ARC, our special needs program, and it is just a joy," said McDaniel.

Hoze hopes the kids take healthy habits outside the cafeteria.

"This determines how long they will live and how healthy they will be as they live. We want to be a part of them making healthy food choices here at school, so hopefully when they go home the foods that we are serving here can be consumed at home as well," said Hoze.

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